● It is the oldest civilisation of the world.
Mesopotamia is the land between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates.
● Mesopotamians were the first to use potter’s
wheel, to make iron implements to make glass ware, to evolve a proper system of writing
called Cuneiform. Cuneiform script was
deciphered by Henry Rawlinson.
● Mesopotamians discovered sexagesimal
system of counting (based on sixties),
Pythogoras theorem, lunar calendar and
calculated the length of day and night.
● The earliest civilisation was by the Shang
(Chou) Dynasty, followed by the Chin and
● In 3rd century BC, the ruler of China dynasty
built the Great Wall.
● Chinese script was pictographic and their
calendar was a combination of solar-lunar
● Silk became the chief item of export during
● The two major religions were Taoism and
Confucianism. They invented water clock,
abacus, umbrella, paper and seismograph.
● This civilisation developed in around 6th
century BC by the Achaemenid Empire under
its first ruler, Cyrus. His capital was at
● His successors were Darius I and Darius III.
The Achaemenids introduced the use of gold
and silver coins.
● Their main religion was Zoroastrianism,
founded by Zarathustra or Zoroaster. Their
official language was Aramaic.
● The civilisation developed around 800 BC,
when the small villages clustered to form
● They worshipped Zeus (Sky God), Poseidon
(Sea God), Apollo (Sun God), Athena (Goddess
of victory), Dionysus (God of Wine) etc.
● In the Battle of Marathon (490
BC), Greeks defeated King Darius
I. Alexander was the greatest Greek
● The Olympic Games originated in
Greece. Iliad and Odyssey are
among the best epics of the world
written by Homer.
● Italy was the centre of the
civilisation. The city of Rome was
founded by Romulus in 1000 BC on
the bank of river Tiber.
● The war between Carthage and
Rome is known as Punic War (264
BC to 146 BC).
● Julius Caesar, one of the generals, murdered Pompey, another general
and occupied the throne. He was attached to the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
Caesar was succeeded by Octavian and Diocletion.
● Romans worshipped the planets. They developed the Latin language.
● Lucretius, Seneca, Cicero and Marus were the famous Roman philosophers and Horace and Virgil were the poets. Tacitus and Pliny were the historians.
● They invented ‘concrete’, useful
for constructing buildings.
● The Renaissance or ‘‘Revival of
learning’’ started in the AD 14th
century in Italy. The fall of
constantinople by the Turks in
1453 led to the dispersal of
scholars from Europe to Itlay.
● Renaissance led to the revival of
classical learning, art and
architecture and propelled
writers-Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio
and Machiavelli, came to the fore.● Renaissance painters—Leonardo
da Vinci (The last Supper and
Monalisa), Michelangelo (The last Judgement and the fall of man) and Raphael
● The movement also helped in the
development of printing press.
Reformation (16th Century)
● This movement was started in Germany by
Martin Luther, by publicly protesting the
sale of Letters of Indulgence.
● It was a revolt against Roman Catholic
Church. As a result, Western Europe was
split between Roman Catholic and protestant
Glorious Revolution of
● This revolution started against the policies of
King James II. He tried to secure freedom of
worship for Catholics.
● This united the Whigs and Tories of
Anglican Church against him, and they
invited William of Orange to occupy English
● James II threw the great seal into the
river Thames and fled to France. The event
is known as Glorious or Bloodless
● It ended the despotic rule of the Stuarts,
established Supremacy of Parliament. The
Bill of Rights (1689) was passed that settled
down the problem of succession.
● It began in Britain in AD 1750 with the
invention of Spinning Jenny by Hargreaves,
Water frame by Richard Arkwright (1769),
Mule by Samuel Crompton (1779), Power
loom by Emmund Cartwright (1785) and
Steam engine by James Watt (1769).
● This fastened the production of cloth and
better quality yarn were produced. The
economic progress also affected the cultural
and social life of the people.
● A struggle by which 13 English colonies of
North America got independence from
● George Washington, the first President of
America was the pioneer of this revolution.
● Boston Tea Party (1773) A group of citizens
of Boston dumped the crates of tea, loaded
on a ship of East India Company into
the sea. This was because of the
problem on tea tax.
● On 4th July, 1776, the Declaration
of Independence was issued
authored by Thomas Jafferson.
● The war ended with the Treaty of
Paris in AD 1783.
● Benjamin Franklin established the
American Philosophical Society.
Americans were the first to have a
● The Revolution initiated on
5th May, 1789 during the kingship of
● French society was divided into three
estates (Clergy, Nobility and
● The immediate cause of the
revolution was the extravagant
expenditure and inefficiency by
Louis XV and Louis XVI.
● Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau
were the French writers and thinkers
of the period.
● Liberty, Equality and Fraternity
were the watch word of the
Unification of Germany
● This was the result of the Blood and
Iron Policy of Bismarck, the Prime
Minister of King William I (Prussia).
● After the Napoleonic war
(1803-15), the 38 independent
states were unified under the king
of Prussia. From 1815 to 1850,
Austria ruled over the German
● Bismarck defeated Austria and
dissolved the German confederation.
● He founded a new confederation of
22 states in 1866. The unification
was completed with the
Prussia-France War (1870), in
which the French Emperor Louis
Bonaparte was defeated.
● William I, the king of Prussia was
declared as the Emperor of Germany
at Versailles in France.
Russo-Japanese War (1904-05)
The conflict arising from the rivalry of
Russia and Japan for control of Manchuria
and Korea resulted in the war. Russia was
forced to surrender Korea, the Liaotung
Peninsula and Sakhalin to Japan.
First World War (1914-18)
International conflict began between Austria
and Serbia. The chief contestants were the
Central Powers (Germany and Austria) and
the Triple Entente (Britain, France and
Russia). Many other countries joined as the
war began. War ended with the Treaty of
Sino-Japanese Wars (1931-33)
Two wars between China and Japan,
marking the beginning and the end of
Japanese imperial expansion on the Asian
mainland. The first war in 1894-95 arose
from rivalry for control of Korea. The second
war in 1937-45 developed from Japan’s
seizure of Manchuria.
Second World War (1939-45)
International conflict arising from disputes
provoked by the expansionist policies of
Germany in Europe and Japan in the far
East. The axis powers- Germany, Italy and
(after September 1940) Japan-controlled
most of Europe and much of Northern
Africa, China and Asia. The United States
stayed out of the war until 7th December,
1941. The Allies (led by USA, Britain and
USSR) were the victors.
(1948-1949, 1956, 1967, 1973-1974)
Conflict between Israel and the Arab states.
After the creation of the state of Israel
(14th May, 1948), troops from Egypt, Iraq,
Lebanon, Syria and Trans Jordan (Modern
Jordan) invaded the new nation.
Simmering Arab-Israeli hostilities
exploded into war in 1967, when Israel,
assailed by Palestinian guerillas, launched
a massive primitive strike against Egypt,
the Arab world’s leading state.
Korean War (1950-1953)
Conflict between North Korea, supported by
China and South Korea, supported by UN
forces dominated by the USA. Negotiations
continued for two years before a truce was
agreed on in July 1953.
Vietnam War (1954-1975)
Conflict between US backed South Vietnam
and the Viet Cong, who had the support of
communist North Vietnam. It followed the
partition of Vietnam. In 1975, South
Vietnam was overrun by North Vietnamese
forces, and the country was united under
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1990)
War began shortly after the Iranian
Revolution of 1979. Iraq wanted control over
oil-rich Iranian border territory.
Falkland War (1982)
Military conflict between Great Britain and
Argentina on the question of sovereignty
over the Falkland Islands led to the war.
Britain won the war.
Gulf War (1991)
Military action by a US led coalition to expel
Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Kuwait was
liberated (26th February, 1991) and a
ceasefire was declared on 28th February.
Bosnian War (1992-98)
Ethnically rooted war in Bosnia and
Herzegovina, a republic of Yugoslavia with a
multiethnic population-Muslims, Serbs and
US-Afghan War (2001)
Military action by US against Afghanistan in
protest against the 11th September’s, attack
on WTC Towers.
Gulf War II (2003)
Military action by a US led coalition to oust
Saddam Hussain from power in Iraq. It was
conducted on the pretext of Iraq possessing
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).